Hostel at a Glance: Hostelling International Chicago
With no age limits and fresh sheets and towels for every guest, Hostelling International Chicago is a hostel anyone can stay in. Situated in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, transportation is easy—it’s just a block and a half from the Blue, Red, Orange, Pink, Purple, and Brown lines. It’s also next door to the Auditorium Theatre, which hosts performances by the world-class Joffrey Ballet and other cultural events.
- Complimentary breakfast: muffins, bagels, fruit, cereal, juice, and coffee
- Explore the city with a free guided tour.
- Stay connected with free WiFi.
- Cook for yourself in the shared, fully stocked kitchen.
Chicago’s Loop: Historic Commercial Center with World-Class Museums and Parks
Named after the shape formed by the elevated train tracks that form its perimeter, The Loop is Chicago’s downtown and the country’s second-largest business district. Skyscrapers such as the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the art-deco Chicago Board of Trade Building loom large here. They overlook waterfront parks, a glitzy theater district, and some of the world’s finest art collections.
About three blocks from the hotel is the Art Institute of Chicago, whose gargantuan collection covers everything from marble busts and sarcophagi to modern masterpieces such as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. You don’t even have to go to the museum to see outstanding art—walk around The Loop, and you’ll see outdoor sculptures from Picasso and Joan Miró. Just north of the Art Institute, Millennium Park is known for both the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion (which hosts free public concerts during the summer), and for the sculpture Cloud Gate, known to Chicagoans as “The Bean” for its legume-like shape.
Grant Park, known affectionately as “Chicago’s front yard,” occupies more than 300 acres along the lake just east of the Loop. Modeled after the gardens at Versailles, the park is dotted with several impressive attractions, including Buckingham Fountain, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium. Its sheer size have made Grant Park the site of many notable events, including Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech and the Lollapalooza music festival, which takes place here every summer.